Dominate The Competition

How to Start Boxing at Home (The Ultimate Guide)

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Written By: Richard Magallanes
Last Updated: September 17, 2023

Want to know how to start boxing at home? This guide will teach you step-by-step what to know to get started.

You'll learn basic moves and tips for beginners. No fluff, just useful stuff to start boxing.

We'll cover:

  • The boxing “number” system (to quickly build up combos)
  • The fundamentals of boxing
  • How to rapidly progress your boxing skills.

Let's get you throwing punches!

This guide has all you need to begin your boxing journey.

Key takeaways

  • Your boxing fundamentals consist of the following:
  • Find a boxing gym with skilled trainers who can teach you the correct techniques and styles.
  • Go to group classes to improve cardiovascular health, learn the boxing number system, and refine your skills.
  • Consider getting a coach or taking private lessons for personalized teaching and efficient mastery of basics.

How to start boxing at home as a beginner

To start boxing at home, I would suggest learning these skills in order:

  1. Learn the proper boxing stance (this is your foundation).
  2. Learn the boxing number system (each number correlates to a punch).
  3. Learn how to throw adequate boxing technique (with each punch).
  4. Learn to incorporate defense (head movement, trunk movement, etc.)
  5. Learn to throw boxing combinations.
  6. Learn boxing strategies and tactics.
  7. Learn how to stay calm under chaos. (controlling your mind).
  8. Combine everything.

Yes, it is a lot, but boxing has a deep history. The more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know.

Focusing on the basics is key to getting good at boxing. You should also film yourself training and review the footage.

Doing this lets you look at your technique and use that info to get better without a coach there.

You won’t have a coach to provide real-time feedback. So, for now, focus on being critical of your form. Be your own coach until you can join a gym.

Learning boxing is difficult without a coach to guide you through your progress. You may learn “bad” habits that will be harder to break in the future.

To improve faster, joining a gym or getting a coach after following these at-home boxing basics is best.

The boxing number system

Now that you know the fundamentals of boxing, it's time to learn the boxing number system. This system offers a shorthand way to remember and do key moves. It's an essential tool for improving your skills.

Here are the main moves in the boxing number system:

  • 1 (Jab): The jab is a quick, straight punch with the lead hand. It sets up combinations and keeps your opponent away.
  • 2 (Cross): The cross is a powerful punch with the rear hand. It's a straight punch with lots of force, often after a jab.
  • 3 (Lead Hook): The lead hook is a punch with the lead hand in a circular motion. It targets your opponent's head or body from the side.
  • 4 (Rear Hook): The rear hook is like the lead hook but with the rear hand. It can generate power and is often a counterpunch.
  • 5 (Lead Uppercut): The lead uppercut is an upward punch with the lead hand. It targets your opponent's chin or body up close.
  • 6 (Rear Uppercut): The rear uppercut is a punch with the rear hand directed upwards. This punch can be devastating if timed correctly, usually landing on the opponent's chin or body when close.
  • 7 (Lead Body Shot): The lead body shot is a punch aimed at your opponent's body using the lead hand. It's a quick, direct punch, often used to wear down an opponent's defenses.
  • 8 (Rear Body Shot): The rear body shot is a punch with the rear hand targeted at the opponent's body. It can be a powerful punch if delivered effectively, causing significant damage.

Memorize these numbers and the boxing moves tied to them. Practice the combinations regularly in different orders.

This will help you get familiar with various fighting combos. Say the numbers as you do shadowboxing and hit the bag. It's an effective way to practice.

1 = Jab

The jab (punch #1), done with your lead hand, is a swift, straight punch that can become the cornerstone of your boxing training.

Here’s how you perform a jab:

  1. Start in a basic boxing stance. Your jab hand, usually your non-dominant hand, should be slightly forward, with your rear hand on your cheek.
  2. Throw your lead hand. As you reach 50% of the distance, you want to drop your knuckles in by twisting your hand as if giving a thumbs down (keep your fist balled, of course).
    • Your largest two knuckles should be pointing to the floor. They should also sit slightly lower than your elbow.
    • This creates the “torque,” which makes your punches “snappy.”
  3. Retract your hand back immediately. Jabs should be a quick, direct hit used to cause damage or as a distraction.

That jab is the foundational punch that will open plenty of opportunities to go on the offense.

If you are to master one punch, I would recommend mastering the jab.

2 = Cross

The cross (punch #2) is thrown with your rear hand. It's a strong, straight punch that often comes after a jab.

Here’s how you do a cross:

  1. Start with your fist on your chin, with your body in your boxing stance.
  2. Throw your rear hand in the straightest line possible. Visualize throwing it at your opponent’s face.
  3. As you reach 50% of the distance, twist your hand as if giving a thumbs down. Your largest two knuckles should be facing the ground.
  4. While throwing your punch, you should also pivot your back foot like you’re stepping on a cigarette. This should also engage your hips, which will be driving the power.
  5. Your fist should travel in the straightest line possible. Your chin should be tucked, and your shoulder should protect your chin.

Keep your wrist straight when you land the punch. Quickly pull your hand back to defend.

The cross is more about power than speed, unlike the jab. But it would be best if you still had good timing and aim.

Regularly practicing the cross after a jab will give you a potent 1-2 combo that's key in boxing.

3 = Lead Hook

After mastering the cross, it's time to learn the lead hook, or punch #3, in the boxing number system.

The lead hook is a powerful punch that can surprise your opponent, going around their defenses to hit the side of their head.

To deliver a solid lead hook:

  1. Start with your weight on your back foot. This allows you to pivot on your front foot and turn your body into the punch, increasing its power.
  2. Keep your elbows bent and your back arm protecting your body. This ensures your defense stays solid, even when attacking.
  3. Twist your left shoulder and hip forward as you throw the punch.
  4. Aim for your opponent's chin, temple or past their guard (if in front), as a well-placed hook can lead to a knockout.

4 = Rear Hook

Mastering the rear hook, or punch #4, is your ticket to dominating your opponents with a powerful surprise attack.

In your ultimate boxing lessons, the rear hook is a crucial tool that can shake up your opponent when done right.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Begin in your boxing stance with your hands up and elbows tucked in.
  2. Pivot your back foot, turning your body to the lead side.
  3. As you pivot, swing your rear hand in a hooking motion.
  4. The power comes from your hips and legs, not just your arm.
  5. Always keep your lead hand up to guard your face.

5 = Lead Uppercut

The lead uppercut (punch #5) is a strong vertical punch that goes upward.

A lead uppercut thrown at the right time can sneak inside an opponent's guard and cause damage.

To perform the lead uppercut, do the following:

  1. Start by standing correctly. Your left foot should be forward if you're right-handed and vice versa. Always keep your knees slightly bent.
  2. Practice a similar motion to the left hook but upward. Remember to use your hips and legs for power.
  3. Your hips should twist as you drive your lead arm 90 degrees.
  4. Aim for your partner's chin or body, but avoid leaning in too much.
  5. A well-timed lead uppercut can easily follow double jabs, creating a powerful combo to keep your opponent on their toes.

6 = Rear Uppercut

The rear uppercut, punch #6, is a fierce upward punch thrown with your backhand.

Done right, this punch can be a game-changer. It comes from underneath to penetrate the defender's guard to land a heavy blow to the chin.

Here's how to throw an effective rear uppercut:

  1. Start in your boxing stance with your hands protecting your face.
  2. Bend your back leg a bit and drop that hand down slightly.
  3. Drive the uppercut up using leg and hip power. Your hips should twist as you drive your rear arm 90 degrees.
  4. Aim for the chin or body. Don't overreach or lose balance.
  5. Use the rear uppercut in combos to keep your opponent guessing and off-balance.

7 = Lead Body Shot

The Lead Body Shot, also known as punch #7, is a dynamic punch aimed at the opponent’s body using the lead hand.

It’s designed to target sensitive areas like the ribs and liver (if they’re in an orthodox position.

You can wind an opponent or even finish a fight if executed correctly.

To deliver an effective lead body shot, follow these steps:

  1. Start in your usual boxing stance, maintaining good balance and control.
  2. Keep your hands up to protect your face, as body shots often expose the head to counterpunches.
  3. Use your lead arm and punch as if you’re throwing a hook. Aim your arm slightly downwards, aiming for the liver (if they’re in orthodox).
    • Drive the power through your hips.
  4. Ensure that your rear hand is guarding your chin to minimize the risk of a counter punch. Return quickly to your guard after punching for added defense.
  5. Mix the lead body shot into your punch combinations to add versatility to your style.

8 = Rear Body Shot

Punch #8, or the Rear Body Shot, is a powerful blow delivered with the rear hand, targeting the opponent's body.

Like the lead body shot, it aims at the ribs but on the right side (or left if you’re a southpaw), causing significant discomfort or even incapacitating the opponent.

Here's how you throw a potent rear-body shot:

  1. Assume your regular boxing stance with your hands up to shield your face.
  2. Pivot your rear foot, activating your hips and legs to generate power for the punch.
  3. Throw the same punch as a rear hook (punch #4), but point it slightly downwards, targeting your opponent’s body.
    • Remember, the power of your punch should come from your legs and hips, not just your arm.
  4. Ensure your lead hand is safeguarding your chin as you punch to protect.

Know your boxing fundamentals

Your fundamentals are what’s critical to improving your boxing game.

If you can master the fundamentals, you will rapidly improve your skills.

Newbies like to get to the “fun” stuff. But really, the fundamentals are what make you most effective.

Your balance, footwork, punches, and defense are the pillars of your boxing foundation.

By mastering these fundamentals, you'll get better technique and increase your effectiveness and safety in the ring.

Your boxing stance (balance)

Your boxing stance is your base, where all your punches and movements come from.

If you stay balanced, you will always have opportunities to defend or counterattack.

Balance is the foundation of all great fighters. As you study more of the legends, you’ll realize they’re perfectly balanced.

Here’s a great clip on “balance” which starts from your stance by Precision Boxing:

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To make a proper boxing stance, imagine your feet on either side of a narrow line on the floor.

Your left foot (if you're right-handed) should be slightly forward, with both feet pointing slightly sideways.

Keep your knees bent and your body weight balanced equally on both feet. This is your boxer's stance.

Here's a simple explanation:

  • Lead foot and rear foot: Your lead foot (left if right-handed, right if left-handed) should be slightly forward, and your rear foot should be slightly back, around shoulder-width apart. This allows more effortless movement.
  • Knees bent: Keep your knees slightly bent for better mobility and to generate power in your punches.
  • Shoulder width: Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart for stability and quick footwork.
  • Heel-toe alignment: A line should cut through from the top of your lead foot down to the heel of your rear foot. You can test this by finding a straight line and seeing if your feet match up.
  • Upper body position: Lean slightly forward to give your punches more power and to protect your upper body. Your hands should be up in a defensive position – one by your chin and the other in front of your face.
  • Chin tucked: Keep your chin down and covered by your lead shoulder. This is a critical point in defense and can
  • Guard up: Keep your fists near your face to protect from incoming punches. Your elbows should be close to your body to protect your torso. Remember, a good boxer never drops their guard.

Your footwork

Your footwork ties into your boxing stance.

The key is to stay balanced at all times. You do this by following this principle:

Whatever foot is closest to the direction you’re going, you move that foot first.

For example, if you are in an orthodox stance and want to move to the right, you’ll move your rear foot (right foot) first, followed by your left foot.

You always want to follow up with your other foot and return to your neutral boxing stance (shoulder-width apart, heel-toe alignment, etc.)

You can practice your footwork by moving in all four directions (up, down, left, and right).

Your punches

We’ve already covered each punch under the “Boxing number system.”

The trick is to learn the number system and start combining sequences.

These are “boxing combinations” practiced through what’s known as “pad flow.”

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The perfect boxing combination includes the following:

  • Punches that blend seamlessly together (each punch should set the next punch. Think of a “1-2” combination)
  • They should include defensive movements in between to get you anticipating counters.
  • They should end in an exit strategy, AKA how to disengage from your opponent.

The above is beyond the scope of this blog post, but it’s good to know what you’ll eventually be learning as you upskill in the sweet science.

Your defense

Now that you’ve learned how to punch, it's time to focus on your defense.

Remember: The goal of boxing is to “hit” and not “get hit.”

Boxing isn't just about throwing punches; it's also about avoiding your opponent's punches.

You’ll always want to defend yourself at all times.

Here are some basic defensive principles to get used to:

  • Tuck your chin into your chest: This will protect you from hooks and uppercuts, and you’ll be able to absorb more impact should you get clipped on the chin.
  • Always keep your hands up, guarding your face: This is your primary defense against jabs and crosses.
  • Reload your punches: After every punch, remember to bring your fist back to its guard position to block any counterattacks.
  • Keep your elbow bent and close to your body: This prevents body shots.
  • Always keep your eyes on your opponent: This will help you anticipate their punches and react accordingly.

Remember, mastering defense is just as important as mastering offense in boxing. So, be sure to focus on it.

What to do to improve your skills rapidly

When it comes to boxing, the fastest way to learn is to get a coach.

You can only do so much on your own, studying and critiquing your own form.

But the real-time feedback is what will rapidly improve your skills.

So, to start, I would recommend these steps:

Find a boxing gym

A boxing gym will provide you with everything you need to improve your skills:

  • The right gear: Boxing gyms have heavy bags, speed bags, and other essentials you might not have at home.
  • Guidance: Trainers can help manage your techniques and keep you on track.
  • Cardio workouts: Boxing gyms offer intense cardio you might struggle to replicate at home.
  • Sparring: You’ll be able to test your boxing skills in a controlled environment.

Your boxing gym will be your home.

One of the underrated aspects of a boxing gym is the relationships you build alongside other fighters on the same path as you.

Friendly rivalries are always a great way to push yourself in boxing training, which often results in rapid improvement.

Attend group classes

Once you've found the perfect gym, dive into group classes.

These aren't your average cardio/boxercise sessions; they're designed to get you in fighting form.

Each class should include the following:

  • Punching technique (generally performed with a partner)
  • Boxing drills
  • Sparring
  • Conditioning
  • Strength

Hire a coach to oversee your progress

A coach's value is providing real-time feedback for you to implement immediately.

They can stop you and tell you when they see something to correct. This helps rapidly correct “bad habits” and learn new skills through repetition.

Like how you would build muscle, your boxing skills improve by putting in the reps.

Experienced coaches from top gyms will guide you through all things boxing, with the most important being:

  • Boxing technique
  • Boxing strategies
  • Mentality

Having a coach by your side that you trust entirely can also help boost your confidence.

Frequently asked questions

What equipment do I need to start boxing at home?

You'll need boxing gloves, hand wraps for protection, a punching bag to practice on, and a jump rope for conditioning. A mirror is all you need to get your form checked.

How can I prevent injuries when practicing boxing at home?

To prevent home boxing injuries, always warm up and stretch before practice. Use proper form, avoid overexertion, and wear protective gear. Regularly rest to allow body recovery and prevent burnout.

How can I stay motivated and consistent starting boxing at home?

Film yourself training and review your footage. You can also track your workouts and see improvements.

You’ll feel the most motivated when you progress, which will translate into consistency.

How do I know that I’m improving?

Record your training sessions and be critical. Review them, noting fluency and accuracy, executing perfect technique. Compare to previous sessions to track improvements and areas needing work.

You can also track your boxing workouts. Aim to get better time on your runs, see how many more punches you can fit into a minute, etc.

There are many things you can measure that when you build up data over time, you’ll be able to see which areas you need to work on.

The bottom line

Starting boxing from home can effectively get you into proper shape, learn the fundamentals, and start your boxing journey.

If you follow the advice outlined above, you should be able to learn the foundations of sweet science.

Couple that with recording your training sessions, tracking your boxing workouts, and reviewing the data; you should be able to progress quickly.

But as I said, if you want to improve your skills rapidly, I highly recommend joining a gym, hiring a coach, and immersing yourself in the sport!

Happy training!

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